Orgasms, An Added Bonus!
‘My arms and legs don’t always do as they’re told, so I need help with all sorts of things and I use crutches or my electric wheelchair to get around. I also can’t wear shoes very often or do anything strenuous; every sensation hurts. Unfortunately, our sex life isn’t as spontaneous as it used to be and some sexual positions are totally impossible, but the good thing is that sex helps the pain! Luckily, we’re both good at communicating with each other – we’ve learnt that over time. There are only a few positions we can do (and they’ve been adapted) that don’t hurt. However, we’ve found ways to improve our sex life and cope with my pain by using cushions and foam wedges. They prop up the parts that need supporting. I think that at first some people may be put off having sex with their partner if they’ve got a disability, but for most people, you just have to learn to adjust…If the pain is constant, then when you have an orgasm and it actually helps to reduce the pain for a short time…At first I thought this was all a bit weird, but when I talked to other people with RSD [Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome, also known as Complex Regional Pain Syndrome], many said they have the same effect during sex. It doesn’t work every time, but it’s certainly an added bonus! At the same time, it’s all well and good that orgasms help the pain, but it doesn’t make it go away completely and you’ve still got to reach climax in the first place.’
Natalie, 23, Reflex Sympathetic Dystrophy Syndrome
‘I rarely do intercourse … I guess the positions that feel good are the ones where I’m being comfortably stimulated or am comfortably stimulating someone else. I love lying on my side kissing and hugging my lover – my left side is best to lie on so I can use my long right arm to touch them. I like sitting up and touching someone, but find it virtually impossible to sit or someone’s face or torso without crushing them to death because of my short right leg. Some positions are definitely more comfortable than others. I rarely lie or climb on top of someone because I really can’t support my own weight because of my disabilities.’
Anonymous Testimony in The Ultimate Guide to Sex and Disability
Stimulating Each Other
‘Depending on what sexual positions we do, it can cause him pain later, or pain during that is difficult to ignore, no matter how much fun we’re having at the time. A lot of the medications he’s on have an effect on his ability to sustain his erection, although not on his ability to get aroused or sexually stimulated. If he’s having a high pain day, we don’t have sex. Also, he sleeps more than I do. This is the most tragic thing. We would be having more sex if he didn’t need so much sleep. [We do] mutual masturbation. Lots of sexualized teasing and cuddling and the like. Sexual talk. Other games and stuff. We also plan things. (I know, if you plan your sex life in advance, it’s not spontaneous. Woe.) So, more than once, we’ve planned weekends where he’s taken less of his pain meds, we make sure there’s as little physically for him to do in the days leading up and the days after, and just have a really good, really sexy time. Finding other erogenous zones on the body to stimulate.’
Anna, partner of a man with Marfan’s Syndrome (connective tissue disorder) and a wheelchair user